Arctic Ocean surface warming trends over the past 100 years

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Abstract

[1] Ocean temperature profiles and satellite data have been analyzed for summertime sea surface temperature (SST) and upper ocean heat content variations over the past century, with a focus on the Arctic Ocean peripheral seas. We find that many areas cooled up to ∼0.5°C per decade during 1930–1965 as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) index generally fell, while these areas warmed during 1965–1995 as the AO index generally rose. Warming is particularly pronounced since 1995, and especially since 2000. Summer 2007 SST anomalies are up to 5°C. The increase in upper ocean summertime warming since 1965 is sufficient to reduce the following winter's ice growth by as much as 0.75 m. Alternatively, this heat may return to the atmosphere before any ice forms, representing a fall freeze-up delay of two weeks to two months. This returned heat might be carried by winds over terrestrial tundra ecosystems, contributing to the local heat budget.

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